Proposals to label GM food being voted on in California alongside the presidential elections, could determine the fate of international negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).(1)
A 'yes' vote for Proposition 37 would give Californians the same right to know what they eat that New Zealanders are allowed under our national food labeling legislation.
A positive vote in California to label GE food will make it easier for New Zealand's trade negotiations Minister Tim Groser to ensure our labeling rules are protected under the TPPA, and extended to other nations (2). It is the right of people to choose to avoid GE food that is under threat at the closed-door negotiations of the TPPA where corporations have the ear of government.
"Trade Minister Tim Groser has reassured New Zealanders that labelling of GMOs is not going to be sacrificed at the TPPA, but the public still fear a betrayal," says Jon Carapiet, national spokesman for GE-Free NZ in food and environment.
"A 'yes' vote to Proposition 37 in California will make it harder for pro-GE lobbyists like Monsanto to overturn labelling, and make it easier for our Minister to defend the rights of New Zealanders.
"Either way, any attempt by corporations to deny people the right to choose GM-free food under the TPPA, is unacceptable and would scupper the deal."
The debate leading up to the vote on Proposition 37 in California has seen pro-GE corporate activism reach new levels of intensity, with tens of millions of dollars donated to advertise against the right to know. Major funding is reported to have come from agri-business, chemical and food industry corporations including Monsanto (over 8 million dollars), Dupont (over 5 million dollars), PepsiCo (over 2 million dollars), and Kraft (over 1.6 million dollars).(3)
Previous attempts in other American states to get GE labelling have failed because they have been opposed by such powerful forces. This has left US consumers in the dark about GM foods, even though GM labelling is mandatory in scores of countries including New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and across Asia.
New Zealanders have a champion in Tim Groser, who must defend our rights. It is impossible for an acceptable deal to be reached if it prohibits labelling of GM food, and denies everyone, not just Americans, the right to choose.The right to know must be protected and extended across the TPPA region.
Media Contact: Jon Carapiet - National spokesman 021 0507681